Friday, September 4, 2009

Danny Gutierrez flotsam

UPDATE: I've seen summaries of his stuff from BP that assert that he was pitching 92-95 in the second half of last year; that his CB was ranked best in the KC system by BA, and that he has good sink and possible some late life on his fb that he works down in the zone and late break on his CB. He was especially good late in the season and dominant in his lone playoff start. I'll be interested to see if he was pitching 92-95 upon his return this year. It isn't out of the question to see him make a start in HighA to end the year...

UPDATE2: BA Profile, 2008 end of year prospect rankings by league: #18 Prospect Midwest league
Gutierrez missed seven weeks early in the season after he came down with elbow tightness, but came back strong and was at his best in the playoffs. He struck out 11 over six scoreless innings in the opening game of the finals against Dayton. Gutierrez' fastball sat at 88-92 mph in April and 90-95 toward the end of the season, and his heater also features good life. He also has a legitimate 12-to-6 curveball and some feel for a changeup. He throws strikes but sometimes elevates his pitches and gets hit. "There are days when he goes out and looks like he can mow down the world," Burlington manager Brian Rupp said.

UPDATE3: 2009 BA preseason profile, #7 in KC system (ranked 11th overall)
Background: Gutierrez has made great strides since signing as a draft-and-follow in 2006. His velocity jumped during instructional league in 2007 and he sustained the increase in 2008 which made him a different pitcher. He missed all of May with a hairline fracture in his pitching elbow, but he pitched well afterward. In the first game of the Midwest League finals, he outdueled South Bend ace Jarrod Parker with 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings.
Strengths: Gutierrez pounds the lower part of the strike zone with his fastball, generating plenty of grounders. He pitched at 88-92 mph early in the season but was working at 90-95 with good life at the end of the year. He has power and 12-to-6 break on a curveball that buries itself just as it reaches the plate. He also shows some feel for a changeup. He can locate his pitches to all four quadrants of the strike zone. He limits the running game by varying his timing to the plate and his pickoff move.
Weaknesses: After the elbow scare, Gutierrez needs to show he can stay healthy and sustain his improved velocity over a full season. When he operates in the low 90s, his other pitches play up. If he can improve his changeup, the sky is the limit.
The Future: There's some talk that Gutierrez could handle a jump to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, though the Royals usually aren't that aggressive. He'll probably open 2009 in high Class A Wilmington.

UPDATE4: selections from BP profile and and Interview
From BP -
"He...showcased outstanding command of both a mid-90s heater and a plus curve in the Midwest League playoffs, when he allowed just two runs in 12 innings with 17 strikeouts and just two walks in helping the Bees sweep to the championship. By the end of the year, the Royals felt he was by far the best pitcher they had at any minor league level."

We already know about that very-fast fastball and plus curve, but Gutierrez seems eager to show off another piece of the arsenal this season - his changeup. He used it a little bit last season, but not a whole lot. "I have a really good feel for it now so this season should be fuuuun," he said.


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